The Pakistani army says an overnight clash near the Afghan border in the restive North Waziristan tribal area has killed 19 militants and seven soldiers.

Monday's statement from the military says there was an intense exchange of fire between security forces and militants along the border. It says five militant commanders were among the 19 militants killed.

One of the militants detonated his suicide vest while he was being chased by troops, killing the seven soldiers in that explosion.

Pakistani tribal areas are off limits to journalists.

A major military operation against local and foreign militants has been underway since last June in North Waziristan, once considered the base of the Pakistani Taliban. The army says it has cleared 90 percent of the region since launching the June 15 operation.